Asia's mega-cities 'more vulnerable to disasters'

Nov 13, 2012
Men push a car through floodwater in Jilin, northeast China's Jilin province in August. Asia's cities are becoming increasingly vulnerable to natural disasters as they struggle with poor planning, population explosions and climate change, the Asian Development Bank warned on Tuesday.

Asia's cities are becoming increasingly vulnerable to natural disasters as they struggle with poor planning, population explosions and climate change, the Asian Development Bank warned on Tuesday.

Floods, earthquakes and other disasters claim tens of thousands of lives a year and cost billions of dollars in the region's cities and urban areas, but not nearly enough is being done to improve their defences, the bank said.

"The region has borne the brunt of the physical and of the sharp rise in natural disasters (globally) since the 1980s," the ADB said in a statement accompanying the release of a new study.

Residents use a boat to make their way along a flooded street in Chongqing, China. Flooding costs billions of dollars in Asia's region's cities and urban areas, but not nearly enough is being done to improve their defences, the Asian Development Bank said.

"Its people are four times more likely to be affected by natural disasters than in Africa, and 25 times more likely than in Europe or North America," it added.

Floods are the most common peril and have become three times more frequent across the Asia-Pacific in the past 30 years, the report said.

It found that the impact of storms on cities and urban areas has worsened due to chaotic and , as well as poorly-managed urbanisation and deforestation.

Meanwhile, millions of people are leaving safer rural areas for low-lying , often driven to the economic hubs by poverty.

Children watch a flooded street after a sudden heavy downpour in Manila in September. Floods have become three times more frequent across the Asia-Pacific in the past 30 years, the Asian development Bank says.

More than 152 million people in the Asia-Pacific are now vulnerable to natural disasters every year, up from 24 million in the 1980s, the study found.

Deaths from natural disasters across the region increased to more than 651,000 between 2000 and 2009, compared with fewer than 100,000 in the 1980s, it said.

Vinod Thomas, director-general for independent evaluation at the Philippines-based ADB, said governments in the region spent two thirds of disaster funds on restoring damaged infrastructure.

But only a third was spent on making these areas more disaster-proof.

Residents wade through a flooded street after a sudden heavy downpour in Manila in September. More than 152 million people in the Asia-Pacific are now vulnerable to natural disasters every year, up from 24 million in the 1980s, the Asian Development Bank says.

"We have thought for too long that natural disasters come and go, that they are just an interruption to development, and that they can simply be dealt with after they strike," Thomas said.

"However, there is growing international recognition that the incidence and impact of are increasing for a variety of reasons: persistent poverty, population growth, and .

"Policymakers need to recognise that investments in disaster risk management are an essential means to sustain growth."

Explore further: Tens of thousands expected at New York climate march

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Asia climate disasters displace 42 million: ADB

Mar 13, 2012

Climate-related disasters have displaced more than 42 million people in Asia over the past two years, the Asian Development Bank said Tuesday in a report calling for swift action to avert future crises.

Asia 'megacities' face disaster timebomb

Aug 15, 2012

Asian nations must act quickly to protect their cities from flooding and other natural disasters as rapid urbanisation raises environmental risks, the Asian Development Bank said Wednesday.

UN: Growth of slums boosting natural disaster risk

May 17, 2009

(AP) -- The rampant growth of urban slums around the world and weather extremes linked to climate change have sharply increased the risks from "megadisasters" such as devastating floods and cyclones, a U.N. ...

Asia faces climate-induced migration 'crisis'

Feb 06, 2011

Asia must prepare for millions of people to flee their homes to safer havens within countries and across borders as weather patterns become more extreme, the Asian Development Bank warns.

UN sketches countries with climate risk profile

Jun 11, 2009

Disasters caused by climate change will inflict the highest losses in poor countries with weak governments that have dashed for growth and failed to shield populations which settle in exposed areas, a UN report ...

Recommended for you

Green dream: Can UN summit revive climate issue?

36 minutes ago

Five years ago, the environment movement was in its heyday as politicians, actors, rock stars and protestors demanded a looming UN summit brake the juggernaut of climate change.

Rio's Olympic golf course in legal bunker

Sep 18, 2014

The return of golf to the Olympics after what will be 112 years by the time Rio hosts South America's first Games in 2016 comes amid accusations environmental laws were got round to build the facility in ...

User comments : 0